Discover what makes Engine unique
Our Service Design System
Our Service Design System has been honed over 20 years as we’ve developed best-in-class services and customer experiences. We use the system to configure projects and programmes to best suit the outcomes you need and discover what your customers will love.
Service design playbook
With 50+ plays
Creative and collaborative traction workshops
10+ tried and tested formats
Benchmark services and customer experience library
Stand-out and best-in-class
Online customer panel
Cross sector insights
Online & real time collaboration tools
For remote teams
Sector service futures
Tracking the signals for change across sector to future proof the design
As a co-founder of Engine, Oliver has improved experiences for millions of people, built and lead the most successful Service Design teams in the world (across financial services, healthcare, retail, transportation and technology) and earned a reputation as a pioneer of the Service Design industry.
Oliver intuitively understands what it takes to get traction and create transformation in a business; He recognises the power and potential of services and service design, to change behaviour and create solutions for some of the world’s greatest challenges.
As co-founder of Engine Service Design, Joe has worked with clients such as Vodafone, the BBC, Novartis and eBay to formulate strategy and deliver service innovation: significantly improving and interconnecting world class customer experiences.
Joe is also a published author, Honorary Professor of Design at Glasgow School of Art and a Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art in London. This combination of academic and commercial experience over a twenty-year career has resulted in Joe being recognised as a thought leader in the Service Design industry.
Joe has a deep appreciation of the challenges large and complex organisations face, when they set out to create differentiated customer experiences; he is also an expert in the tools and methodologies that enable this large scale change.
Managing Director Dubai
James has accumulated a wealth of experience, ensuring plans to do things differently see the light of day and ultimately make people’s lives better.
With overall accountability for Engine’s operation (ultimately accountable for Project Management, Training and Development, HR, IT, Legal, Compliance and Finance), Lisa ensures the Engine team remains ready and able to deliver the highest levels of guidance and support to clients.
2000 – Where it all began
Picture the scene… a crisp autumn afternoon in London, two young Product and Retail Designers catching up over coffee, imagining a world with Service Design at the heart of every business strategy; not just making those companies more successful, but making people’s lives better.
Those two consultants were Oliver King and Joe Heapy, co-founders of Engine - the world’s first dedicated, Service Design Consultancy. Engine immediately put a dent in the universe, helping Orange (one of the leading brands in the world at the time, now Orange FT), to establish mobile phones as a new mass market concept, and working with Virgin to set the standard for air travel which is common place today.
2004 – Thought leaders
In 2004 The UK Design Council needed to drastically improve dated public services and assembled a small number of design agencies to explore the role designers could play. As a result, the Engine team began working with schools, in healthcare and with a London prison.
In 2006 Engine collaborated with the think-tank (Demos), to publish the first book to make a compelling case to the government sector, for the role of 'design thinking' as a methodology to significantly improve public services. As Engine’s reputation as Service Design specialists grew, we were engaged by major brands such as Visa International, The Guardian Newspaper and MSN.
2007 – Social Innovation Lab
As London saw the completion of a futuristic new Wembley Stadium in 2007, Oliver and Joe’s vision for a Service Design Consultancy was already impacting hundreds of thousands of lives across the UK; Engine was co-producer of the 'Design of the Times' (Dott07) programme based in the northeast of England, which engaged over 200,000 citizens, and 15,000 school students who responded to design briefs.
Three hundred miles south, Engine helped establish the Social Innovation Lab for Kent (SILK) to engage citizens and organisations, in the design of public services. The list of clients trusting Engine with their service design projects also continued to grow, including projects with Samsung, Nokia, Sky, Tesco and Vodafone.
2010 – Customer Journey Design
South Africa changed the perceptions of the world and millions embraced a once in a lifetime celebration as they hosted the Football World Cup in 2010. In the same year, Engine continued to pioneer customer experiences across Europe with the introduction of Customer Journey Design to the UK team of the European energy business, EON; several European markets went on to adopt Engine's process model and tools as they grew their customer experience network.
In the same year, we helped establish Virgin Media's customer experience programme and we worked with the London Borough of Southwark to engage citizens and third-sector organisations, to address local challenges, improve services and make people’s lives better.
2013 – Dubai and beyond
3 years after the Burj Khalifa opened its doors to the public as the world’s tallest building, the eyes of the world were drawn towards the fast-paced growth of the UAE city, resulting in exponential passenger number growth through its airport. As a result, Engine were engaged across a full programme of projects for Dubai Airports, playing a pivotal role in the creation of a world class passenger experience.
What began as a small project, grew to such an extent that we opened our second service design studio in Dubai, which very quickly expanded to match the size of the London studio. This brought us closer to clients across China, South Korea and India and momentum continued as the world’s best known brands continued to look to Engine as the service design consultancy of choice.
2015 – Design led change
42 years after its launch, Oliver and Joe saw an icon of their youth make a successful return, with the latest release in cinemas from the Star Wars Movie franchise - the Force Awakens - making a smash at the box office.
No longer in short shorts, but now leading the most successful, dedicated Service Design Consultancy in the world, Oliver and Joe were busy relocating their London office to accommodate a growing team, reconfigured to blend design thinking with the outlook and skills needed to support clients from pilot into implementation; we called this design-led change.
Engine continues to evolve what we do as organisations become more design-literate and ambitious, with brands such as Channel 4 (UK TV), London Heathrow Airport, Hyundai and Virgin Hotels all entrusting Engine with their service design projects.
2018 – The Service Design System
2018 saw Engine's expertise come together, in what was the culmination of decades as pioneers of the service design industry; Engine’s ”Service Design System” became industry best practice, powered by our secret sauce, a playbook consisting of more than fifty 'plays', outputs and workshops we can draw upon to build and run collaborative and creative projects.
In the same year, we published a book describing the seven skills we'd built within our team to support design-led change (the book now has editions in Korean and Italian) and took on projects with brands such as Microsoft, National Grid, WeightWatchers (now WW), TalkTalk and Unite Students.
2020 – A New World
In a year characterised by disruption, unexpected events and a forced evolution of how, when and why people buy, Engine moved into a new London office and rapidly adopted an online approach to delivering projects.
In order to support organisations, as they strive to understand the new world from their customers perspective and adapt their product and service offerings, Engine decided to share the work we'd been doing to spot signals out there in the world that could inform the design of new and future services.
Engine also worked in collaboration with our customers, leveraging insights to research and develop a set of “Pandemic Personas”; we’ve shared this research in the hope that any organisation with a willingness to evolve, has access to the tools they need to make peoples lives better.
Join our team
We’re always on the lookout for people to work with us. We like people who enjoy exploring a challenge, working out solutions, polishing them and packing it all up. You can see from what we do that we’re creative, process is important to us, and we enjoy understanding what makes people tick. Developing ways of thinking, finding an angle and making things seem as simple as possible, are all skills we value.
We are interested in different levels of experience and expertise, so whatever your specialism, field or experiences, get in touch.
Please email CVs, a covering letter and portfolio to [email protected]